Improving graduate employability

  • By Dr. Myo Kywai (Hsinbaungwae)
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Enhancing graduate employability is a key priority for higher education. Graphic Image : BT

The National Education Policy Commission and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) discussed matters relating to the University-Industry Engagement 23 August 2019. UMFCCI adviser Dr Aung Tun Thet said that according to the demand and supply mechanism, there must be an almost 100 per cent balanced ratio between the number of graduates and diploma holders produced by universities, colleges and technical schools and the employment demand, and warned that if not there might be mismatching.
In some cases, the demand may be low although the supply is high as the latter doesn’t meet the academic qualification of a particular demand. But in other cases business companies face a shortage of required employees and a high cost of providing courses for recruits as the supply of professionals for a particular job is low amidst the high demand, said the meeting minute. Nangyan Technological University of Singapore systematically conducted a graduate employment survey and presented its report.
Human resources development through academic learning will take time, as it is a long term undertaking that never shows results in a short period. It can take two to three years for the teachers of the institutions of higher learning to complete their further studies such as master’s degree courses and doctorate courses abroad. So, our country’s human resources will need five to ten years of time to gain extra acceleration. If we can have foreign aid, we can arrange programs in which professors and technicians from abroad will give lectures on various subjects in Myanmar. The initial research deals with identifying prioritized subjects for short-term development of the national economy. For example, Some institutions of higher learning in Myanmar are running courses on tourism. These courses or subjects can be prioritized.
As a matter of fact, tourism is a smoke-less industry, earning much income for the country. Accordingly, those subjects should be also lectured at other universities and colleges so that graduates of those higher learning schools will have higher employment opportunities.
Our team visited Chiang Mai in Thailand in June 2019 to attend educational workshops and to visit the universities of Thailand’s second largest city. Although Chiang Mai airport seemed to be smaller than Yangon Airport, the number passengers it is handling is twice or thrice larger than our main airport. According to the 2018 record, Myanmar welcomed 3.58 million in that year. Thailand hopes to receive 40.1 million tourists in 2019, and of them over 10 million will enter the country through Chiang Mai airport.
The Faculty of Social Sciences of Chiang Mai University has a tourism department and the courses on tourism subjects conducted by the School of Tourism Development of Maejo University. They are conducting diploma courses and master’s degree and doctorate courses, apart from bachelor degree courses, which are providing human resources for the generating the country’s foreign exchange income through the smokeless industry. There are tourism departments in other universities of Thailand that are also acting as human resources developers of the industry.
Without a doubt, tourism is the fastest growing and the most successful industry in the world. Globally, it employs 270 million people, and in Thailand alone, over six million people are involved in the industry. If we leave no stone unturned in our quest for tourism develop through inclusive efforts, the industry will earn more money for the nation and generate more job opportunities for its citizens. We can conduct the following diploma courses, bachelor degree courses, master’s degree courses and doctorate courses in connection with various branches tourism industry at our institutions of higher learning.
1. BA (Travel and Tourism Management)
2. BA (Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Management)
3. B.Sc. (Travel and Tourism Management)
4. BA (Hospitality and Travel Management)
5. BBA (Travel and Tourism Management)
6. BBA (Hospitality and Travel Management)
7. BBA (Air Travel Management)
We can also carry out cultural tourism, eco-tourism, environmental tourism and agro-tourism, apart from ordinary tourist services. We saw with our own eyes the practical us of tourism related courses as a source of income by universities in Chiang Mai.
Our country can also run diploma courses, bachelor degree courses and master’s degree courses on food development, culinary, food science and technology. Although we have an abundant domestic supply of milk and fruits including grapes, we have to dig deep into our pockets as we are consuming milk, milk powder, butter, cheese that come from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and China because of the weakness in our packaging technology. Moreover, lack of technology has pushed us to rely mainly on imported wines and various kinds of fruit juices which are more expensive than the local ones. Our reliance on the import will continue till we can disseminate require technology through the respective courses in our country. We also need laboratories, testing processes and up-to-date production technologies for our goods to meet the international level.
In this regards, we should reduce the number of diploma courses, bachelor degree courses and further studies which are not in conformity with the age, and should increase the number of professional courses and research and development programs that may be beneficial for the State.

(Translation: TMT)

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